Sydney Sweeney on Her Love for Restoring Vintage Cars and Her Rom-Com With Glen Powell (Exclusive)
Sydney Sweeney is settled on a comfy chair during a rare break of filming her new rom-com with Glen Powell in Australia. She's been filming six days a week, so a short break seemed in store, if not earned. Sweeney's sporting an oversized suede sweater and has her hair in a ponytail. She's also giddy, and who wouldn't be when there's a myriad of reasons.
In a matter of just a few of years, the 25-year-old actress has seen her career catapulted to new heights, reaching TV's pinnacle last year when she became a double first-time Emmy nominee -- for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Euphoria and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for The WhIte Lotus.
She's currently Down Under filming the yet-to-be-titled R-rated rom-com with Powell. And even though she also serves as the film's executive producer for Fifty Fifty Films -- the production company she launched in 2020 -- she's not spilling the tea on the Will Gluck-directed project shrouded with mystery.
"Just know the movie is going to be so much fun. It is so funny. And it gives love, it gives humor, it gives sex," Sweeney tells ET in a Zoom call from Sydney, Australia. "It gives all the great things that make a movie. And we want to bring back the good ‘ol rom-coms with Will Gluck, and we’re having a great time doing it."
There's a lot to be proud of these days, like her new partnership with Ford for its new campaign "Built Ford Proud" (more on that in a bit). Last year, her Fifty Fifty Films production company landed its first project, an adaptation of Jessica Goodman's young adult novel, They Wish They Were Us, which will be an HBO Max limited series dubbed The Player's Table, starring Sweeney and Halsey.
The Sony/Marvel film Madame Web is also on the horizon. She's attached to another Sony project, The Registration, on which she'll also serve as a producer. Then there's the Barbarella reboot, in which she's also set to star and executive produce. At this rate, by the time season 3 of Euphoria starts filming (still no word on when that's exactly happening, and she wasn't at liberty to divulge), Sweeney will have all but conquered Tinseltown and established herself as a power broker among Hollywood's movers and shakers.
And while all of this is more than enough to get a budding actress/producer excited to get out of bed each day, there's another passion that drives her, and that's being a grease monkey. Yes, a mechanic, and a helluva good one, too.
Her love for restoring vintage cars is well documented on her TikTok account, Syd's Garage, which boasts more than 1.2 million followers who are treated to her prowess with a toolbox.
Her more than 20 videos -- each with at least one million views -- are equally entertaining as they are informative and inspiring. She created the account to document the restoration of her dream vehicle, a 1969 Ford Bronco. And when she got ahold of the Bronco, Sweeney needed space to do the work. So, she hit up the father of a childhood friend, Rod Emory, who opened the doors to his garage in the San Fernando Valley, where she quickly got to work -- from replacing the suspensions and making a custom hood latch to removing axels. But restoring a Bronco also came with some painful choices, like switching out her manual transmission to an automatic, much to her mother Lisa's chagrin.
"It was so sad. I love driving manual. There's nothing better than feeling like you're the one in control of a car," Sweeney says. "But with such a heavy vehicle like a 1969 Ford Bronco, driving the hills of L.A. and driving with those drivers that like to get right behind you, I wanted this to be my daily driver. [But] the car's so heavy, you roll back just the second before you go, and people just don't understand that. And the sitting in the traffic on the 405, it's a workout."
And, speaking of workouts, there's also her 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang.
"My Mustang doesn't have power steering," she says, "and I'm sweating when I'm driving that car!"
Her love for cars began at a young age. When she first started learning how to drive in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, Sweeney was taught in her great grandfather's Ford F-100.
@syds_garage she’s finally driveable! sending her off to get reupholstered this weekend :) #bronco♬ Fake - The Tech Thieves
"It was this old farm truck," she says.
As for why she loves vintage cars, it's an appreciation for the stories they tell and the history and memories made in classic cars. Sweeney says she grew up around mechanics, like her uncles and cousins. And it didn't take long for her to follow suit, proving that, even at an early age, Sweeney was comfortable breaking the mold and diving in head first into a male-dominated space.
"I was always watching my cousins or my uncles work on cars and I wanted to be able to do it too," she says. "I think that seeing them and seeing the gratification you get when your car breaks down, you can fix it yourself, that was what was so cool to me."
But Sweeney's mom didn't need their car to break down to put her to work. Sweeney recalled an early lesson that proved annoying at the time, but one she appreciates now.
"When I was learning how to drive, my mom would make me randomly pull over on the side of the road, and she would tell me to get out," Sweeney explained. "And I'm like, 'What's wrong? She'd say, 'Go change the tire.' But there's nothing wrong with the tire! And she would make me get out and change the tire. At the time, I was like, 'Why the hell am I having to do this?' But now I'm so appreciative of those moments because I love cars. I know how to feel confident behind the wheel, and that has empowered me to explore, how to rebuild a car."
No need to get a Fast and the Furious campaign going for Sweeney, who threw on her producer hat when an opportunistic reporter suggested the idea.
"Let's start my own franchise with cars," she quips.
But her history and love for vintage Fords certainly makes her tailor-made for a new Ford campaign dubbed "Built Ford Proud," which aims to showcase her brilliance as a car-building enthusiast breaking the mold and empowering women to take charge in a male-dominated industry. She hopes that her passion for rebuilding vintage cars, coupled with a new partnership with Ford, will inspire more women to feel comfortable working on cars while defying stereotypes that working on cars is a hobby exclusively reserved for men.
The new campaign includes a scholarship for women pursuing an education in automotive tech and exclusive workwear with Ford and Dickies. There's also a new commercial that not only features Sweeney -- alongside stunt driver Dee Bryant and world class surfer Kai Lenny -- but also her '69 Bronco and her rescued German Shepherd/Dalmatian mix, Tank.
"I’m very proud of myself. I've worked really hard to be able to get to a place like this," she says. "And now being able to share things that inspired me when I was younger and do it on this level, it’s an amazing thing."
With her love for cars fueling her obsession, it's no wonder fixing cars has become her "party trick" when she's on any given set.
"If people know about it, they ask, 'You know how to work on a car?'" she says with a laugh. "After Euphoria, if I wrapped on a day or had a day off, I'd go to the garage and work on my Bronco. And when I would come to work the next day, they'd be like, 'What'd you do?' And I'd say, 'Oh, I went to the garage.' And they were just so confused. And I would drive my cars to set and I would work on them in basecamp. They'd be like, 'What is Sydney doing?'"
While she said she couldn't get into anything related to the upcoming third season of Euphoria (rumor has it that it won't hit HBO until sometime in 2024), Sweeney did say she's "very excited to get back to what I call home."
And that's Euphoria. Or her garage.
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